Great strides have been made in the past decade to bring about awareness of mental health in America. I am pleased with the progress that is being made daily and the lives that are saved every second. Part of me grieves the fact that very little is being done in terms of preventative medicine for mental health and how beneficial it could be to all of us.
Physical health is a goal for many. Whether it's about getting fit at the gym or eating better to lose 10 pounds we are constantly reminded of how much our physical health matters- which is great- yet not much importance or goal setting is being placed on mental health. I believe that mental health is as equally important as physical health and should be treated with as much vigor. If we took half as much time shaping our emotional well-being as we did our physique, I think we'd be on to something!
Though people have become more aware, it is still a hard topic to tackle. Many people feel emotional pain at a deep level, but don't know how to accurately depict it. The whole I'm fine mentality is often covered up with food, drink or another vice which can only dig that person deeper. Learning how to reach out, even through the perceived "weakness" (which is a lie your ego created!), can be terrifying and isn't a skill many of us are comfortable with.
We have yearly physicals, we are routinely tested for signs of cancer, we are even put on pre-diabetic medicine and though given the option, many of us do not talk with our doctors about our emotional well-being in terms of prevention. Not to lay the blame on either parties, but it is crucial in these matters to use our voice and express concern as needed.
Before I list any tips, I want you to always seek help from a doctor before attempting to "fix" things on your own. If you have any suicidal or harmful thoughts, please call your doctor or the National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255.
Get enough sleep
Pay attention to your feelings
Spend time in nature
Pursue a hobby
Grieve your losses
Accept yourself, imperfections and all
Only try to change yourself, not others
Ask for help; you’re not superman or superwoman
Spend less time in front of electronics
Connect with friends and family
Try to do things because you want to, not out of obligation
Practice gratitude daily
Express your feelings
Surround yourself with positive people
Remember it’s healthy to say “no” sometimes
Forgive yourself when you screw up
Limit alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs
Spend some time alone
Get to know yourself
Listen to your instincts
See a therapist
Practice deep, calming breathing
If you’ve been prescribed psychiatric medications, take them as prescribed
The tips listed are curtesy of Sharon Martin, LCSW.
Your mental health is huge and I want you to be a peace- mind, body and spirit . Commit to turning practice into daily habits by taking small steps every day. You can do this and you are worth the effort!
Photo credit: Alameda Photography and Film